There are so, so many markers placed so carefully in ordered rows over so much ground.

One comes and it finds you in whatever way it does.

You find it, too, like partners in some strange kind of a dance, or round one fighters in the ring. Because that’s how it feels here, like you and it are tapping into something deep and natural, something scary but secure, something simultaneously good and bad.

It’s the best of you. It’s the worst of you.

It’s that part in each of us that wages epic battles with ourselves and with those we love most. It’s both my inner and outer responses to Melinda when I’m angry:

Am I calm and loving? Am I spiteful and mean?

When Chloe or Ella leave their dirty dishes in the sink, do I respond with raised voice and ire or with understanding and patience?

I lose more of these battles than I care to admit.

But perhaps each marker here represents an opportunity to start over again.

When I lose one of these battles, I can think of this place, tap one of these markers and forgive myself. Failing that, I can start again. Failing that, start again.

There, a success! Build on it.

Oh, but another failure. Start again.

There are so, so many markers placed so carefully in ordered rows over so much ground. So many opportunities to start again. Always more, always enough. Perhaps too many…

Each one represents opportunity, hope. A success. Now another.

Just what IS it that dies for one’s sins?

(I wrote this on June 12, 2011, after visiting Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery in Normandy for the first time. The experience jolted me, took my breath away. I post it on Medium in honor of Veteran’s Day in the United States.)

Andy Smallman works to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world. Visit Andy at AndySmallman.com.
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Andy Smallman works to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world. Visit Andy at AndySmallman.com.

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